Poetry Friday: William Stafford


Thank you to  Violet at Violet Nesdoly | Poems for hosting Poetry Friday.

Throughout January in Oregon, one can find many celebrations honoring William Stafford born this month.

With the political climate and this day, I went to the files of Stafford in search of an appropriate poem to share. From Poetry Foundation:

Peace Walk

We wondered what our walk should mean,
taking that un-march quietly;
the sun stared at our signs— “Thou shalt not kill.”
Men by a tavern said, “Those foreigners . . .”
to a woman with a fur, who turned away—
like an elevator going down, their look at us.
Along a curb, their signs lined across,
a picket line stopped and stared
the whole width of the street, at ours: “Unfair.”
Above our heads the sound truck blared—
by the park, under the autumn trees—
it said that love could fill the atmosphere:
Occur, slow the other fallout, unseen,
on islands everywhere—fallout, falling
unheard. We held our poster up to shade our eyes.
At the end we just walked away;
no one was there to tell us where to leave the signs.
William Stafford, “Peace Walk” from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by William Stafford.
An interesting piece about this POEM.
Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.

11 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: William Stafford

  1. I wonder what conflict he was writing about. Very appropriate words, for the many who will be holding signs today and tomorrow. Where do we put those feelings if not on signs we hold up for the world to see?

  2. This makes me think about marching tomorrow in New York City. It’s been years since I’ve done so, and I am looking forward to carrying my sign and raising my voice.

  3. Thank you, Jone, for this poem to ponder. Peace March reminds me of the one I witnessed in Boston last summer. The Black Lives Matter nonviolent march filled the streets as many stopped to reflect on the whys.

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